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Archive for the ‘medicaid waiver’ Category

Let’s put political labels aside for a moment. Help me think through my problem.

I too was a believer in the American dream: work hard, save your money, get a good education and you can accomplish anything. Then my daughter, who was an honor student at the University of Chicago, was hit by a car and suffered severe brain trauma. Then I saw the other side of the American dream: if you can’t produce you’re worthless. In both explicit and implicit ways we were informed throughout the many years since her accident to cut our losses and move on. In the beginning it was through the encouragement to sign DNR orders. Then it was consistent suggestions to put her into a nursing facility.

I think of all those brave men and women who served in our wars and came home seriously disabled. Are they receiving adequate care? We want our government to protect us but do we want our government to care for the casualties of war?

Indeed, according to market principles my daughter and other persons with disabilities can be a financial drain. They can also be a tremendous emotional drain for those caring for them. But they are not worthless. In fact, if the resources are there to care for them so that the caregivers are not overwhelmed, persons with disabilities have the unique ability to take us out of our consumer mentality and show us what life is really all about. They teach us what it means to love.

So, if you don’t want the government to help me care for my daughter show me who will. Or maybe you too think her life no longer has any value.

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This is Michelle. In 1998, while a fourth year student at the University of Chicago, she was hit by a car and suffered severe brain trauma. She remained unconscious for almost eight months.

We are an upper middle class family and at the time of Michelle’s accident both my husband and I were working full-time. We paid our taxes, contributed to social security, and made sure that all our family members were covered by good health and car insurance. Yet, only three months after Michelle’s accident our insurance company told us that any further treatment of Michelle was futile and informed us that they would only pay if we would put her into a nursing facility.

Because Michelle was 21 at the time of the accident, she was soon able to qualify for Medicaid and later the Medicaid Waiver. Because of Medicaid she was able to continue to receive rehabilitation services and eventually emerged from the vegetative state. For the past twelve years she has lived at home with us.

We are not asking the government to take over our responsibilities as her parents, even though she was a legal adult at the time of her accident. We devote our lives to giving her the best care possible. Yet without Medicaid and the Medicaid Waiver we would probably have had to put her into a nursing facility.

What happened to Michelle could happen to anyone of us at any time. As the national debate about health care and Medicaid funding rages, we all need to reflect on what is more important. Should we fight for more discretionary spending so we can purchase more technological gadgets and other material things or should we fight to support people like Michelle?

If you think Michelle’s story is worth being part of the national debate please repost and twitter.

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